The cover illustration featured an old house during the night with the door slightly opened, and a strange face in the window.
When the family takes their first trip to Dark Falls to meet with the real estate agent, Compton Dawes, and view their new home, only the two children, Amanda and Josh Benson and their dog, Petey, immediately sense that something is not quite right. Despite the fact that it is the middle of July, the entire neighborhood seems covered in an artificial darkness created by massive, overhanging tree limbs. Dead brown leaves, shade, and shadows are everywhere. Then there is the house itself, which obviously was not constructed any time in the recent past. It is an enormous, dark, antique structure with two big bay windows on the second floor that look eerily like a pair of observing eyes. While Josh proceeds to impatiently whine in protest over the latest tragic development in his life, Amanda watches with amazement as a boy appears suddenly in the doorway of her new bedroom and disappears suddenly.
Amanda feels much better after seeing her bedroom. She goes outside to tell Josh about it, but he is gone. She finds him a little while later in the cemetery... being chased by someone. Amanda keeps seeing other children in her home and hearing strange sounds. Also, the friends she makes all seem a little different. It is later revealed that the children are all dead, having been murdered when they lived in that house. Once a year, they must have the blood from a freshly killed person to sustain their "living dead" existence for another year.
One of the undead children, Ray, attacks Amanda in the cemetery, while her brother, Josh, is still looking for the dog. Josh saves her at the last moment, when he shines his light on Ray’s face. This results in Ray disintegrating and becoming a pile of bones. Amanda and Josh run home but when they arrive, they are attacked by the dead children who explain that there is no dead great uncle and that the letter sent to their parents was a trick to bring the Benson family to Dark Falls. “This is the dead house...Once a year, you see, we need new blood," the dead children say, as they move forward to kill Amanda and Josh. Suddenly Mr. Dawes, the real estate agent, appears at the door and the dead children vanish. He tells them that he has already saved their parents from the dead people and that he will take them to join their parents. A gravestone however, reveals Mr. Dawes is also dead, and everyone died when something escaped from a plastics factory. Amanda and Josh manage to escape Mr. Dawes after Josh hits him on the head with his flashlight. It turns out the dead children are zombies that crumble under light, and they knock down a tree to kill all of the living dead. Their parents saw everything.
As the family is leaving the dead house, they meet on the driveway a new family coming to move to the house. Only someone too familiar is there, and Amanda is sure it's Mr. Dawes.
Cover Art Gallery
- A follow-up to this book titled Happy Holidays from Dead House was planned for the Goosebumps Gold book series. However, both the book and the series were canceled due to R. L. Stine's contract with Scholastic ending.
- Amanda and Josh's father was mentioned by name in the book: Jack Benson. Their mother was Penelope Benson in the television episode, but it is unknown if that really was her name in the book.
- The Dead House appears as a location in Goosebumps: The Game.
Welcome to Dead House was adapted into a two-part episode of the Goosebumps TV series. The episodes aired on Fox Network on June 29, 1997. Part one and two were episodes thirty-nine and forty in the series, and episodes twenty and twenty-one of Season 2 respectively.
Differences from the book
- The house isn't the one that turned the townspeople into zombies. It was a chemical plant accident that infected the town.
- In the book, Ray's surname is Thurston, and Karen's surname is Sumerset. In the TV episode, Karen's surname is Thurston, and Ray's surname isn't revealed.
- The Ending of the episode is much different from the book: The family escape the horde of zombies after most of them are killed. They manage to reach their car and drive off, and one zombie screeches for them to return since he's hungry. They manage to pick up Petey after they notice him on the street, but Petey is revealed to be dead, and he turns gray. There's no other family who moves in the house.
- The original premiere of the television episode, as well as the VHS and DVD release, included R.L. Stine as the television episode's host.
- Ben Cook (Josh Benson) previously appeared as Jerry Hawkins in Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, and would appear again as Marty in A Shocker on Shock Street.
- Scott Wickware (The Hard Hat Worker) previously appeared as The Masked Mutant in Attack of the Mutant, and the Haunted Mask in The Haunted Mask II.
- This is the only Goosebumps episode to feature zombies.